New research released in London this week points to the effectiveness of cause driven social campaigns activated by brands – showing superior business results than traditional brand communication stories, especially in social media.
In the report, Seriously Social by marketing consultant Peter Field, research indicates that not only were cause-driven campaigns better at delivering business effects — they also generated greater numbers of brand effects once the non-profits were removed from the equation.
Field analysed case studies from the Warc Prize for Social Strategy – a global competition for examples of social ideas that drive business results – defined social strategy as any activity designed to generate participation, conversation, sharing or advocacy.
“Cause-driven campaigns are more strongly associated with business effects,” Field stated, a finding that became even clearer when stripping non-profit campaigns out of the calculation.
Field was able to compare the impact of campaigns that associated a brand with a good cause, with the impact of those that built a story around a brand.
He found that media usage for cause-driven campaigns was more strongly focused on online, WOM/earned media and traditional advertising channels (excluding TV). Brand story campaigns, in contrast, made wider use of media channels and, as they were more likely to be short-term campaigns, included much more activation.
These patterns had an impact on subsequent effectiveness. The business effectiveness of cause driven-campaigns was found to increase markedly over time, whereas that of brand story campaigns did not.
“Again, this is a reflection of the short-term outlook of the latter group,” Field said, who suggested that conclusions about effectiveness drawn over a period of less than six months would underplay the true strength of cause-driven campaigns.